Intel Starts Production on Smallest-Ever Chips

$7 billion investment pays off in big, small ways

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Intel has started to produce the ultra-dense 32-nanometer chips it needs to bring about the next generation of processors. What's that mean for you and me? Well, two things, depending on the architecture of the 32nm chips: faster computers, phones and more, or ones that use less energy.

    That's because Intel is focusing on "systems on a chip" production (or SoCs), which allows the company to tweak each chip depending on what it's going into. Raw power is fine for computers, for instance, but specialty instances of the processors — such as in phones and cars — require a little something different.

    It's also this SoC-oriented approach that represents a departure for Intel, as the company will try to offer a variety of components it doesn't normally include in the manufacturing process. This shift in direction is thanks, in part, to the $7 billion the company has invested to adapt its US plants for 32nm manufacturing.

    Intel wants to be the first to bring the 32nm technology to the market, with chips going into computers and electronics by the end of this year, and opening up the 32nm SoC line early next year.

    The 45nm chips we use now aren't dead, however, according to the Wall Street Journal:

    In the meantime, Intel next week plans to discuss Jasper Forest, a 45-nanometer SoC targeted at products such as communications and data-storage equipment. On Thursday, it is expected to follow up with Sodaville, another 45-nanometer chip for digital TVs, set-top boxes and media players that combines its Atom microprocessor with circuitry for graphics, video and other functions.

     

    Via the Wall Street Journal

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